States sue 26 generic drugmakers, accused of fixing prices since 2016

All 50 states filed a lawsuit June 10 accusing 26 drugmakers and 10 individuals of a conspiracy to fix prices of generic drugs. 

The lawsuit, which also includes several U.S. territories, is the third filed by state attorneys general accusing the drugmakers of a broad price-fixing scheme since late 2016, according to STAT

The lawsuit accuses the drugmakers of "routinely" working together to fix prices on at least 80 generic drugs by agreeing to divide the market rather than compete by lowering prices. In some cases, prices rose by more than 2000 percent, STAT reported. 

"Through phone calls, text messages, emails, corporate conventions and cozy dinner parties, generic pharmaceutical executives were in constant communication, colluding to fix prices and restrain competition as though it were a standard course of business," Connecticut Attorney General William Tong told STAT. "Our case is built on hard evidence that paints an undeniable picture of the largest domestic corporate cartel in our nation’s history."

Drugmakers named in the lawsuit include Pfizer, Mylan, Teva, Sandoz, Mallinckrodt and Sun Pharmaceuticals. Ten people who worked at different generic drugmakers also are named as lawsuit defendants. 

A Sandoz spokesperson told STAT: "Sandoz disagrees with the extremely broad claims brought by the states in this case. The individual instances of misconduct at the core of the resolution we reached with the U.S. Department of Justice in March do not support the vast, systemic conspiracy the states allege. We take seriously our compliance with antitrust laws, and we will continue to defend ourselves in this matter."

A Pfizer spokesperson told STAT: "As we previously stated in response to the states' May 2019 complaint, we do not believe that the company or our colleagues participated in unlawful conduct.  The claims and allegations in the states’ most recent complaint do not change that belief."

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